Transient Desires by Donna Leon

Transient Desires by Donna Leon

Leon's Commissario Brunetti series is an easy one to jump in and out of. Each book stands alone well. Yes, reading them in order would probably give you a fuller picture of how the characters change, or don't change, over time, and let you meet new characters when they're introduced. I don't feel like I've missed much by skipping around. As always, Transient Desires take place in Venice. The city is almost a character in and of itself. The city is full of both beautiful, old architecture and dark, dangerous alleys. It relies on tourism, but Venetians are contemptuous of the tourists. The picture of Venice is very vivid, which is a part of this series that I always enjoy. This time, the mystery starts with two young American women left severely injured outside a hospital. Finding out who the men were that dropped them off is easy enough, but leads to a much bigger situation, one that requires...
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Broken Places by Tracy Clark

Broken Places by Tracy Clark

Cass is angry. Angry that Father Ray, Pop, is dead. Angry that an incompetent detective has caught the case and is ready to dismiss it as a murder/suicide, which Cass knows is not true. Cass is determined to get to the truth, no matter how many favors she has to call in. She's also got some friends who are ready to back her up no matter what. Broken Places is a riveting story full of action, but Cass isn't the loner she may seem to be. Yes, she's tough and willing to do things on her own, but she's got some loyal friends, both in the police force and on the other side of the law. She's brave and stubborn, but also vulnerable at times. She cares about people, her friends, the homeless man she meets, her former partner. I'm hoping though that she gets a little more time to be a person in the next entry in the series. This...
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Hollywood Ending by Kellye Garrett

Hollywood Ending by Kellye Garrett

Hollywood Ending is a fun sequel to Hollywood Homocide, but I think would work as a stand-alone too. Dayna Anderson, used to be an actress and is now working on becoming a private investigator. The story is told from her point of view. “You’d probably cast me in a group of black friends getting together for a fun vacation movie. I’d play the cute, annoyingly sweet girl currently dating the object of the main character’s affections.” It's award season in Hollywood and Dayna's boyfriend, Omari, is up for one of the biggest awards for television, the Silver Sphere Award. When Omari narrowly misses being the victim of a fatal mugging after a pre-party, Dayna is drawn into the case, hoping for the reward money. Turns out the publicist who was killed was also secretly Anani Miss, a celebrity gossip columnist who has spilled plenty of secrets. Dayna seems pretty casual, but she's determined and clever. The book is filled with...
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Parker Pyne Investigates by Agatha Christie

Parker Pyne Investigates by Agatha Christie

Parker Pyne is a bit unusual for a Christie detective. He is not a conventional detective, but a person who provides "happiness"; his ad in the paper says: "Are you happy? If not, consult Mr. Parker Pyne." He's understands human behaviour, a bit like Miss Marple but with more statistics. With his acquired knowledge, he sets out to sell ‘happiness’ to people, in rather smart and surprising ways. He uses a mixture of fantasy, crime-solving, and psychology to resolve his clients' unhappiness. The stories are initially set in England. The later ones are set in Syria, Egypt, Iraq and Iran where Parker Pyne while on holiday keeps finding new clients. I can't say I didn't enjoy Parker Pyne. Some of the stories are quite clever. I didn't love it however. ...
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Cocaine Blues by Kerry Greenwood

Cocaine Blues by Kerry Greenwood

I've enjoyed a couple of the Miss Fisher mysteries, so of course, I wanted to read the books. For once, I'm starting a series at the beginning, which I think was a good choice. Cocaine Blues is a wonderful introduction to Phryne Fisher and her world. Phryne Fisher is part of the English upper classes and has no desire to marry any time soon despite the best wishes of her parents and their friends. Phryne has the adventurous spirit of a modern woman. An aristocratic friend of the family happens to mention to Phryne that their daughter, Lydia, is having difficulties in Australia, marital problems with the inference that she might be being poisoned. They suggest that Phryne go to Australis to check on her. Phryne, currently at loose ends, take them up on the suggestion. in Australia, along with checking on Lydia, she takes in a desperate young woman as her maid, teams with a pair of cab drivers who...
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The Mystery of Three Quarters by Sophie Hannah

The Mystery of Three Quarters by Sophie Hannah

Sophie Hannah resurrects Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot in this, her latest addition to the series. I read the first of her Poirot books and was under-impressed, but for whatever reason, decided to give them another chance. This, her 3rd in the series, was surprisingly enjoyable. This is not Agatha Christie's Poirot, but he has his eccentricities and peculiarities. He's self-consciously Poirot, but he was entertaining and intelligent. Poirot returns home after lunch to be confronted by an outraged Sylvia Rule, angry that she has received a letter from him accusing her of murdering Barnaby Pandy and urging her to confess. It turns out that three more seemingly unrelated people, Annabel Treadway, John McCrodden, and Hugo Dockerill, each received the same letter. Poirot is baffled as he wrote none of the letters. Poirot is intrigued and can't help looking into Pandy's death, an accidental drowning in his bath. Was it actually murder? If so, is one of the letter-receivers guilty? Poirot...
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